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Legal row over songs performed at Beatles’ first US concert

The Beatles (PA)
The Beatles (PA)

Songs performed by The Beatles at their first concert in the United States have been at the centre of copyright litigation in a London court more than 54 years on.

Two Court of Appeal judges have produced the latest ruling on the dispute, which relates to The Beatles’ appearance at the Coliseum in Washington DC on February 11 1964.

The concert was videotaped and judges were told that about a decade ago plans were put in place to make a documentary, called The Beatles: The Lost Concert, which would feature the video recording.

Music giant Sony, which owns the copyright to eight of the 12 songs The Beatles performed at the show, sued two firms involved in plans for the documentary, alleging “actual or threatened infringement” of UK, and US, copyrights.

Three years ago, a High Court judge ruled in Sony’s favour after a High Court trial in London.

Last year the same judge, Mr Justice Arnold, ordered the director of one of the firms involved in the documentary plans to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of lawyers’ bills run up by Sony.

Lord Justice Kitchin and Lord Justice Floyd on Thursday ruled that Mr Justice Arnold’s bills decision had been “unjust”, after analysing arguments at a Court of Appeal hearing in London in July, and overturned his order.

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